From his days of partying to the nostalgic moments of listening to his dad’s record collection, Jarrah McCleary has a lot to say about his favourite songs. With the release of his third EP Hope For Something under indie-pop/electronica project Panama, McCleary has an undeniable talent of putting together songs, bringing a relaxed yet intriguing atmosphere. Considering his eclectic taste in music, the artists/bands that he loves are influential to his craft of making songs.
From his stellar work in catchy number “Undertow” and the lush instrumentation he uses in his music, McCleary puts purpose into play when someone manages to stumble upon his work. He’s the type of artist you’d be thrilled to find among the indie music that is out there. Jarrah was kind enough to talk about some of his favourite songs for us; from LCD Soundsystem to Led Zeppelin – his taste in music is a mixed bag of underground and mainstream gems.
LCD Soundsystem – “All My Friends”
This song is amazing. It’s timeless, the message touches on so many different levels. When I first heard it, I thought it was about youth, partying and then looking back at it all and questioning whether it was worth it. Now when I hear the song, I think of different scenarios and questions; that’s the sign of a timeless song to me – one that grows with you. I did a lot of partying around the 2007-2010 period. It was a magical time full of crazy situations, so many friends and the pursuit of unbridled hedonism. It took a long time for me to get over that period of my life because it was just so much damn fun. Hmmm, maybe that’s what the message is about in “All My Friends”.
Massive Attack – “Paradise Circus”
I was about twenty-five years late to the trip hop party. Growing up, I remember hearing songs from Portishead and Massive Attack and the music went straight over my head. My dad was a huge Portishead fan so that gave me a reason to avoid the whole genre at the time. Ga. I’m so glad I came back to the genre and invested more time into it as an adult listener. “Paradise Circus” is so close to being perfect – maybe it is perfect. When I hear it the form of the song just flows so well. Sometimes when I hear songs I find them far too busy when it comes to the instrumentation and it can ruin a good song. That’s not the case with Massive Attack. I feel like everything you hear in this song is necessary.
When I hear it, the form of the song just flows so well. Sometimes when I hear songs, I find them far too busy when it comes to the instrumentation and it can ruin it. That’s not the case with Massive Attack. I feel like everything you hear in this song is necessary. Oh, and the strings are just superb. They sound like a combination of real strings that have been tinkered with heavily via the production phase. Is it compression, eq? I don’t know!
Television – “Marquee Moon”
I discovered this song (and the album) in a record store underneath the ground in the city of Perth. At the time, I was getting really deep into New Wave music. I asked a hippy looking middle aged guy behind the counter for some suggestions and he recommended this and also The Modern Lovers. Both were golden suggestions. I used to ask people in DVD/Video stores for suggestions too. It was great because you’d get something you wouldn’t necessarily think of yourself.
Anyway, the guitar in this song and for the whole record is absolutely incredible. I started to learn more about the music surrounding the venue ‘CBGB’s’ after hearing this song. I went on to listen to Blondie and Suicide. Suicide was an interesting listen at the time. I thought the singer kind of sounded like a trippy Elvis and the drum machine was just outrageously relentless.
Led Zeppelin – “Trampled Underfoot”
I discovered Led Zeppelin via my dad’s massive record collection at our house in Darwin (top end of Australia, yes I know it’s isolated!). I was a teenager at the time and I think I pulled the record out because I loved the artwork. Vinyl artwork is amazing to look at and to hold. It sounds good too if you have a decent hi-fi system to listen to it on. What I love about this song is the Clav. It must have been the first time I’d heard a Clav on a record and it sounded super funky. I think at the time
I think at the time, I was like “Hey is that a guitar? No, that’s not a guitar, what is that thing?”. From there, I started to learn more about electronic pianos like the Fender Rhodes and the Wurlitzer. Both amazing instruments in their own right. So thanks, Dad for collecting such awesome records and letting me devour them sonically. Other records of note he had in his collection were Black Sabbath, Madonna’s Like A Prayer (dude was eclectic!) and later on Portishead’s Dummy. What a guy!
Primal Scream – “Loaded”
I swear there’s just too many songs to list. I could list so many more. Okay, anyway, “Loaded” from the album Screamadelica is just amazing. I love the sample at the start of the video (taken from the film The Wild Angels). The whole record is really really good. At the time, I was partying every weekend and this album was the soundtrack for it.
From this song, I started to get into the Brit pop movement that happened 12-15 years prior. For some reason, I’m always late to the party when it comes to genres! Oh, and I also watched the movie Quadrophenia for the first time and started learning about the Mod culture from the ’60s too. That lead me to discover bands like The Kinks and The Jam. So much gold!
Hope For Something is out now. You can stream it via Bandcamp HERE
Be sure to catch Panama on his upcoming dates below!